Sunday, December 4, 2011

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

Perfect for holiday dinners!  We've had this two years in a row on Thanksgiving and it may show up again on the Christmas Eve dinner table.

12 ounces cranberries
1c white sugar
3/4c orange juice
1/4c Grand Marnier

1.  In a medium sized saucepan, combine sugar, orange juice over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissovled. 

2.  Stir in the cranberries and cook until they start to pop (about 5-10 minutes).

3.  Stir in Grand Marnier.

4.  Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Dip with White Wine

Served this yummy appetizer with tortilla chips.  The white wine gives a nice flavor twist to a classic appetizer or snack.  
1 1/2 TBSP butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
10 oz. pkg. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well                   
1/4c white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
cayenne pepper sauce, to taste
1/4c green onion, chopped
1 1/2c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4c mayonnaise
1/4c half-and-half

1.  Preheat oven to 350*
    2.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
    Stir in the garlic, spinach and white wine.
    Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes, until heated through.
    3.  Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Remove from heat.               
4.  In a medium size mixing bowl, combine green onion,
mozzarella cheese, mayonnaise and half and half.

5.  Add the spinach mixture and stir until combined.

6.  Transfer mixture to a small, buttered baking dish.             

7.  Bake 20 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned.               

Best served hot.  Cheers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

White Wine & Butternut Squash Soup

Delicious as an appetizer or add tortellini for a heartier main course.

1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 TBSP butter
1/2c white onions, sliced
1/4c green onions, chopped
3c butternut squash, roasted and cubed
1/4c white wine
2 1/2c vegetable broth
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ginger
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

8 oz. spinach and cheese tortellini (optional)

1.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, add cumin, nutmeg, and butter.  Stir until butter melts.

2.  Add white and green onions.  Saute a few minutes, until soft and fragrant.

3.  Mix in squash, wine, broth, cinnamon, and ginger.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.

4.  Puree soup with an immersion blender until consistency is smooth.

6.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

If adding tortellini:
Cook according to package directions while soup is simmering and add just prior to serving.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Easy Amaretto Brownies

I totally cheated and used a mix for these.  No matter though because this is my new favorite brownie.  They are seriously delicious!  Here are the easiest Amaretto brownies you will ever make:

1 box brownie mix (I like Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)
1/4c Amaretto liqueur

3/4c semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 TBSP butter

1.  Bake the brownies according to package directions.

2.  Remove from oven and poke holes in the brownies with a fork.

3.  Pour Amaretto over brownies.

4.  Allow to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

1.  In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine chocolate chips and
butter, stirring until consistency is smooth.
(If you don't want to do this on the range, use a glass bowl
and pop it in the microwave, stirring every 15-20 seconds.)

2.  Pour frosting over cooled brownies.

3.  Chill in the refrigerator until frosting is set.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peaches and Amaretto Upside-Down Cake

1/2c brown sugar
1/4c butter
3 TBSP Amaretto liqueur
1-16oz. pkg. frozen sliced peaches, thawed
1/2c chopped pecans

1/4c butter, softened
1/2c white sugar
2 eggs
1/4c Amaretto liqueur

3/4c all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup milk

1.  Preheat an oven to 350*  Add 1/4c butter to a round 9" cake pan.  Place the pan in the oven until butter is melted.

2.  Meanwhile, combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside.

3.  Remove pan from oven and add the brown sugar and Amaretto, stirring until sugar has dissolved and everything is well blended.

4.  Arrange the peach slices over the butter mixture in the pan and sprinkle with the pecans; set aside.

5.  In a large bowl, beat 1/4c butter and the white sugar with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.

6.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.

7.  Add the 1/4c Amaretto and continue beating.

8.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing until just incorporated.

9.  Gently pour the batter over the peaches and pecans.

10.  Bake about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

11.  Allow to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grand Marnier Brownie Bites

2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2c butter
2 eggs
3/4c packed brown sugar
3/4c white granulated sugar
3 TBSP brandy-based orange liqueur (Grand Marnier)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
3/4c all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4c pecans, chopped

2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP light cream
1/2c confectioner’s sugar
1 TBSP brandy-based orange liqueur (Grand Marnier)

1. Preheat oven to 350* Grease and flour mini-muffin pan.

2. In sauce pan over low heat, melt dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and butter. Stir continuously until ingredients are melted and consistency is smooth. Remove from heat.

3. In mixing bowl, beat brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs on medium speed 2-3 minutes, or until fluffy.

4. Add melted chocolate and butter, Grand Marnier, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Continue mixing on medium speed until well blended.

5. Add flour, salt, chocolate chips, and pecans. Mix on low until all ingredients are combined.

6. Pour batter into muffin pan, filling each muffin cup up to ¾ full.

7. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a brownie comes out clean.

8. Place on wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Preparing the Frosting:

1. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the milk chocolate and butter; stirring continuously until consistency is smooth. Remove from heat.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add light cream, confectioner’s sugar, and Grand Marnier. Beat on medium until ingredients are well blended.

3. Spread on tops of cooled brownies.
Yields 36 mini brownies.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vodka Cream Sauce

Served this the other night over rigatoni with a side Caesar salad and French bread and it was completely devoured.  The secret ingredient is prosciutto (pancetta would be good, too!) 
1/4 pound prosciutto, chopped
2c. heavy cream
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2oz. vodka
1 (7oz.) jar roasted red peppers
2 TBSP parsley, chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1c. Parmesan cheese, grated

1.  Drain roasted peppers, reserving about 1/4c. liquid.  Cut peppers into small to medium strips.

2.  Combine prosciutto, cream, crushed tomatoes, vodka, roasted peppers with reserved liquid, parsley, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper in a saucepan.

3.  Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sauce comes to a boil.

4.  Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

5.  Stir cheese into the sauce and serve immediately.

Makes enough sauce for 1lb. of pasta.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beer Braised Collard Greens

2 TBSP olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh collard greens, cut into 2” pieces and stems removed
1 (12oz.) beer
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes or until onion is softened and garlic is light golden brown.

2. Add collard greens, beer, brown sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.

3. Allow to simmer 30-45 minutes or until collard greens are wilted and beer is reduced slightly.

4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.7
Served this as a side with Jambalaya. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bourbon and Banana Cupcakes

This is a great way to use up those extra bananas!

For the cupcakes:

3/4c butter, softened
2 1/8c white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TBSP bourbon
3c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2c buttermilk (or 1 1/2c milk + 1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2c mashed bananas

1.  Preheat oven to 350*  Butter and flour cupcakes pans.

2.  In a small bowl, combine bananas and lemon juice.  Set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl, combime the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

4.  Using a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.

5.  Add eggs, one at a time, blending completely after each addition.

6.  Add vanilla and bourbon; continue mixing.

7.  Gradually add 1/2 of the flour mixture, all of the buttermilk, then the remaining flour mixture.  Continue mixing until well blended.

8.  Stir in banana mixture.

9.  Pour into prepared cupcake pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

For the frosting:

3/4c butter, softened
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 oz. bourbon
2 TBSP heavy cream
4c confectioners' sugar

1.  Using a stand mixer, combine butter and cream cheese on medium speed, until fluffy.

2.  Add vanilla, bourbon, and heavy cream.  Continue mixing until well blended.

3. Gradually add confectioners' sugar one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

4.  Refrigerate approximately one hour before frosting cupcakes.
 The frosting would also be amazing on a Red Velvet cake.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beer Battered Jalapeno Bites

These little appetizers are surprisingly yummy and addictive!

5-6 fresh medium size jalapenos, seeded and sliced
1/2c all-purpose flour
1tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1c light beer (I used Corona)
vegetable oil for frying
ranch dressing (we like the spicy version)
1.  Combine flour, salt pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl.
2.  Add eggs and beer and stir until well blended.
3.  Heat oil in skillet or fryer to about 375*
4.  Dredge jalapeno slices in batter and add to hot oil.
5.  Fry until golden brown.  Remove to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

6. Serve with spicy ranch dressing for dipping.
Bet you can't eat just one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Coconut Rum Banana Bread

1 1/3c all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/2c butter, softened
3/4c white granulated sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/4c coconut flavored rum (I like Malibu)
1c mashed bananas (3-4 med. size)
1/2c pecans, chopped
1/2c coconut, flaked

1.  Preheat oven to 350* and grease an 8”x4”x2” loaf pan.

2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, use mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

4.  Add egg, vanilla extract, and rum to butter mixture and beat on medium-high speed until well blended.

5.  Stir in mashed bananas..

6.  Add flour mixture and stir just until blended.

7.  Fold in the coconut and pecans.

8.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake approximately 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9.  Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

For the Batter:

1c all-purpose flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1c beer (I like Guinness)

For the Sauce:

1/2c plain yogurt
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp. capers, minced
1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. fresh dill weed
1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 quart oil for frying
1c all-purpose flour in small bowl
1 lb. white fish (I use cod), cut into 2" bites or strips
1 pkg. corn tortillas

small head cabbage, finely shredded (red cabbage makes for a pretty presentation)

1.  Add all sauce ingredients listed above to a small bowl and stir until well blended.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don't worry about a few lumps).

3.  Heat oil in large, deep skillet.  Have your splatter screen handy, just in case.
4.  Dredge fish lightly through the flour.  Then, dip into beer batter, and and add to the skillet. 

5.  Fry until crisp and golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

6.  Lightly fry tortillas; not too crisp.

7.  Place fish in a tortilla, top with shredded cabbage, sauce, and serve.

***Photo Coming Soon***

Sweet potato fries on the side are a nice contrast to the spiciness of these tacos. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bourbon and Mango Pulled Pork Sandwiches

3 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP pepper
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 mango or 1c frozen mango puree, thawed
1 (2-3lb.) pork loin roast
1 TBSP coarse ground black pepper
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder, or to taste
1/8c balsamic vinegar
1c water

For the sauce:
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder
1 tsp. molasses
2oz. Bourbon or whiskey
1 (18oz.) bottle spicy barbeque sauce
sandwich buns

1. Peel mango and remove pit. Place pit in slow cooker and chop mango.

2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork roast.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place roast in skillet and sear, 2-3 minutes on each side until evenly browned.

4. Remove roast from skillet and place in slow cooker. Add chile powder, balsamic vinegar, and water.

5. Cover and cook on low heat 5-6 hours, or until meat is fork tender and cooked through.

6. Add chopped mango to a blender and puree until smooth. Add puree to a medium saucepan. Add chile powder, molasses and Bourbon; bring to a simmer.

7. Stir frequently until mixture is reduced and slightly darkened in color, about 10 minutes.

8. Add barbeque sauce and stir until evenly blended. Remove from heat.

9. When roast is fully cooked, remove and place on cutting surface. Discard cooking liquid and mango pit.

10. Shred roast using two forks, the return to slow cooker. Add mango barbeque sauce and stir to distribute evenly.

11. Cover and cook on high heat 1 hour. Serve on sandwich buns.

**Photo Coming Soon!**

These are some yummy sandwiches!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beer Braised Irish Stew

This was great comfort food on a cold and rainy day.

2 TBSP olive oil
1 lb. beef stew meat, cut in approx. 1" pieces
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder, or to taste
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
3/4c white or yellow onion, chopped
1c carrots, chopped
1 bottle dark beer (I used Guinness - Regular, not Stout)
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat oven to 325*.

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

3.  Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Add seasoned meat to pot and brown on all sides.

4.  Add flour and stir lightly to coat the meat with the flour.

5.  Add onion, carrots, dark beer, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.

6.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and cover.

7.  Remove Dutch oven from stovetop and place into the preheated oven. 

8.  Cook approximately 1 hr. and 30 min., stirring halfway through.

Slow Cooker Option:  Follow directions 1-6, then throw everything in the slow cooker.  Set the heat on Low and leave it alone for the next 6-7 hours (time will vary depending on your unit).
 Serve over colcannon or garlic mashed potatoes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beer and Cheese Fondue

Last Friday evening, I served this as an appetizer to Beer Braised Irish Stew.  My husband enjoyed it so much that I became seriously concerned he was going to make a meal out of just the fondue.  It really is that good.

1 lb. mild Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2c dark beer – I used Guinness
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. pepper, or to taste
½ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1.  Add cheese to fondue pot and melt, slowly, over low heat, stirring frequently.

2.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until well blended and sauce thickens slightly.

3.  Serve with whatever you have prepared for dipping.  Sourdough bread pieces, roasted potato chunks, roasted cauliflower, and sausage are all good compliments to this fondue.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

White Wine Salad Dressing

This takes five minutes and a blender.  It doesn't get easier than that!

2 TBSP white wine – I used Sauvignon Blanc
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. coarse ground Dijon mustard
1 TBSP shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp.ground black pepper
1/4c extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Place all ingredients, except olive oil into a blender and puree until well blended and consistency is smooth.

2.  Keep blender running and gradually add the olive oil to blend thoroughly.

3.  Season to taste and serve immediately over a salad or chill for later.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pan Seared White Wine Salmon

1lb. salmon, cut into individual portions
sea salt, to taste
coarse ground black pepper, to taste
olive oil

For the Sauce:
1/3c butter
1/4c white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dill weed

1.  Preheat oven to 400*  Preheat cast iron skillet on stove over medium high heat.

2.  Using a spray bottle (or your hands) coat both sides of the salmon with olive oil.

3.  Salt and pepper each salmon piece, to taste.

4.  Add to preheated skillet and sear on both sides, 2-3 minutes.

5.  Remove skillet from burner and place straight into the preheated oven, allowing fish to continue cooking 7-10 minutes, or until the internal temp. is 145*. 

6.  While salmon is in the oven, add butter to a small saucepan and heat over low until melted.  Add wine, lemon juice, paprika, basil and dill.  Heat through and keep warm until ready to use.

7.  Remove salmon from oven and arrange on plates.  Pour sauce over the tops and serve. 
Served this last night with Garlic and Parmesan Orzo
and sauteed asparagus.

Sherry Wine Cake

This is a semi-homemade recipe in that it involves mixes.  In other words, it's great when you don't want to mess around in the kitchen too long; you just want a fast, easy dessert.

1 (18.25oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (5 oz.) pkg. instant French vanilla pudding mix
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3c water
3/4c vegetable oil
4 eggs
3/4c cream sherry

For the Glaze:
1/2c confectioners' sugar, or to taste
1/4c cream sherry, or taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350*  Butter and flour a Bundt pan.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together cake mix, pudding mix and nutmeg.

3.  Add water, oil, eggs and sherry.

4.  Beat on low speed just until blended.

5.  Beat another 4 minutes on medium speed.

6.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

7.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

8.  Let cool in pan 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

9.  Make the glaze by stirring confectioner's sugar and sherry together (I just use a fork for this) until well blended.  If it's too thick, add more sherry.  Too thin, add more sugar.  You get the idea.  Just play with it until it's to your liking.

10.  Drizzle glaze over top of cake and serve or chill for later. 

This a great make-ahead recipe because
I swear it tastes even better the next day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creme Brulee with Irish Cream Liqueur

Break out your kitchen torch! 
2c heavy cream
1/3c granulated, white sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 TBSP Irish cream liqueur (I used Bailey's)
4 tsp. granulated, white sugar, or to taste  

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees*. Place 4 ramekins in an 8"x8" baking dish.

2.  Stir together cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until very hot, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.

3.  In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, and Irish cream until combined.

4.  Slowly add heavy cream mixture, whisking it in 2 TBSP at a time until incorporated. Once you have incorporated about 1/3 of the cream, stir in the remaining hot cream.

5.  Pour custard into the ramekins, then fill baking pan with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

6.  Bake 50 to 60 min., or until set.

7.  Remove from oven and place ramekins on a wire rack to cool to room temperature, approximately 1 hour.

8.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

9.  When ready to serve, unwrap and sprinkle with the extra white sugar, shaking off excess.

10. Using a small hand torch, melt the sugar by making quick passes over top of the custards.  Continue melting the sugar until it turns deep brown and forms a crispy crust.  Serve immediately.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Middle Eastern Red Wine Chicken

1 tsp. olive oil
1 c onion, thin sliced
1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 TBSP garam masala
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2c red wine
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1c chicken broth

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove onion from skillet, and set aside.

2.  Increase heat to medium-high. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the garam masala and curry powder.

3.  Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned on both sides, adding additional seasoning, to taste.

4. Pour in the red wine and red wine vinegar. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes, scraping up and browned bits from the pan.

5.  Stir in the onion and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.

This was delicious over garlic couscous.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Guinness and Brown Sugar Glazed Corned Beef

This is what we will be having for dinner on St. Patrick's Day this year, along with fried cabbage and mustard mashed potatoes:

 2 lbs. corned beef brisket
1/2c packed light brown sugar
12oz. Irish stout beer (we prefer Guinness)

1.  Preheat oven to 300*

2.  Rub brown sugar on the corned beef until coated on all sides.
Place brisket on rack in a roasting pan.

3.  Pour the beer over the top of the brisket. Be sure to pour gently
so that you don’t knock off the brown sugar.

4.  Cover and bake for approximately 1½ - 2 hours, or until
cooked through. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve.


Friday, March 4, 2011

White Wine Chicken Spaghetti

3 TBSP olive oil
1 lb. chicken breasts
6c chicken broth or water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
1/4 c red bell pepper, chopped
1/4c green bell pepper, chopped
1/2c mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2c onion, chopped
1 (10.75oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
3/4c dry white wine
2c Cheddar cheese, shredded
8oz. spaghetti
1/4c Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350*

2. In large skillet, heat 1 TBSP oil  and cook chicken, seasoning with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.  Remove chicken, shred it, and set aside.

3. Place spaghetti in a pot of boiling water and cook until it reaches al dente consistency, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

4. In large skillet, heat remaining 2 TBSP oil over medium high heat.  Add green peppers, red peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and onion. Saute until slightly tender, about 3-4 minutes.

5. In large mixing bowl, combine sautéed vegetables, cooked spaghetti, cooked chicken, white wine, and 1 1/2c Cheddar cheese.

6. Pour into prepared 9”x13” pan.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

7. Uncover and top with remaining 1/2c Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Return to oven and continue baking, uncovered, another 15 minutes.

Allow to stand 5-10 min. before serving.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beer Braised Collard Greens

2 TBSP olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh collard greens, cut into 2” pieces and stems removed
1 (12oz.) beer
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes or until onion is softened and garlic is light golden brown.

2. Add collard greens, beer, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.

3. Allow to simmer 30-45 minutes or until collard greens are wilted and beer is reduced slightly.

4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Served this as a side with jambalaya.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

White Wine Alfredo Sauce

This is my new favorite Alfredo sauce:

4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP all-purpose flour
1c. heavy cream
1c. chicken broth
1c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2c. Parmesan and Romano cheese, shredded
3 TBSP Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4c. white wine 
salt and pepper, to taste

1.  In a medium-size sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.

2.  Add flour.  Cook and stir with a whisk until well blended. (2-3 min.)

3.  Add cream and broth.  Stir to blend.
4.  Add remaining ingredients and continue stirring over low heat until cheeses are melted and sauce is a smooth consistency.

*If the sauce starts to get too thick, just thin it back out with a splash of wine or broth.

5.  Toss with pasta and serve warm.
Some people swear by Chardonnay for Alfredo sauces but I used a Sauvignon Blanc for this one and thought it was fabulous - Cheers!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sausage and Sauerkraut

This is a kicked up version of the classic sausage and sauerkraut dinner.  I like it because the all the flavors you expect are still there but they're enhanced with the addition of the veggies and white wine.

1c. baby carrots
2c. red potatoes, chopped
1 (16oz.) bag sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (this reduces that strong sauerkraut-y flavor)
1 lb. fully cooked beef sausage, cut into chunks
1/4c. white onion, thin sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4c. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. caraway seed

1. Layer carrots, potatoes and sauerkraut in your slow cooker.

2. In a skillet, brown the sausage; transfer to the slow cooker.

3. Saute onion and garlic in the skillet with drippings, until tender.

4. Gradually add wine or broth. Bring to a boil and stir in pepper and caraway.
Pour over sausage and veggies.

5. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until vegetables are tender.
Serve with the rest of the white wine.  ;)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seafood and Wine

I read, according to last month's Wine Spectator magazine, there may be real health benefits to pairing  wine with your seafood (as if you needed a reason).  This is part of what they say:

"Finding the perfect wine to match with fish may be challenging, but a team of French scientists has found that the pairing is worth the effort. A comprehensive review of recent research on wine and fish shows that the drink helps break down omega-3 fatty acids abundant in many types of seafood. This helps keep heart tissue stronger and healthier."
Good enough for me.  :)
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